COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: July 24th, 2020
Meetings and Announcements:
• The next City Council meeting will be held next Monday, July 27th.
• There will be a Special Council Meeting Friday, August 14th at 4:00 pm to canvass the primary election results
• Here are the updates from various departments below.
Updates from Staff and Council:
Earlier this week Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-81 mandating the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-81.pdf
“Beginning on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Minnesotans must wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, as described in this order and the related industry guidance, available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafe.mn.gov), as well as any other guidance referenced in this order. Workers must also wear face coverings outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. When leaving home, Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to have a face covering with them at all times to be prepared to comply with the requirements of this Executive Order.”
Residents using in-person services have been using masks already and the city provides one to people who don’t have one. City staff have been using masks at work when interacting with the public already, so we do not expect many changes.
The State of Minnesota has made 4 million masks available to local businesses statewide. The St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is the lead agency for Ramsey County and Maplewood Mall has agreed to serve as a host site. https://www.fox9.com/news/statewide-effort-to-distribute-4-million-masks-to-minnesota-businesses-before-mandate-takes-effect
Beginning Monday, July 27th at 9:00 am, local businesses can pick up boxes of disposable masks for their customers and staff. Chief Lukin has served as the point person coordinating distribution. Joe Sheeran has handled communications. Both have done an excellent job. You will see more on social media later today.
Mask distribution will take place at the SE Corner of the Maplewood Mall – between the old Sears and JC Penney. There are 1,920 boxes available for area businesses.
There are opportunities for Council to volunteer to hand out masks, or make deliveries, if you’re interested please contact me or Chief Lukin.
The city continues to get feedback on the proposed liquor ordinance amendment. There was a new story in an older Pioneer Press article on the role that grocery stores can play in the retail sector. Sharing for context: https://www.twincities.com/2018/12/09/hy-vees-bringing-more-than-groceries-to-the-east-metro-its-rescuing-downtrodden-retail-sites/
PARKS AND RECREATION
3M Volunteers at Gladstone Savanna
On 7/23, seven volunteers from 3M joined Natural Resources Coordinator Emily Dunlap and Naturalist Ann Hutchinson to remove spotted knapweed at Gladstone Savanna. Spotted knapweed is an invasive species that can produce thousands of seeds per plant and threatens to outcompete native plants. By removing spotted knapweed before it goes to seed, the volunteers prevented it from spreading further. Masks were worn for the duration of the event, social distancing was practiced, and tools were sanitized before and after use. Thanks to the volunteers for all their hard work!
Police Officer Interviews:
The Police Department completed the first round of police officer interviews with two interview panels interviewing 48 candidates over a three day period. Seventeen candidates will now move on to a Chief's interview with Public Safety Director Nadeau this coming week. This hiring process is being conducted to hire officers to fill the positions of two long term officers who have taken the opportunity to be part of the early retirement program offered by the City.
TH 120 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study
This week the second TAC meeting for the TH120 PEL study was held. At this meeting we reviewed an update and initial insights provided from community engagement. The goal was to gather input from the public on lifestyle and habits, use of the corridor and transportation modes, know problem areas, and unmet needs.
The engagement process started with an online survey which 1,328 respondents participated. From this survey pool a small group diverse group were invited to continue the discussion. 37 residents participated in the Qualitative Bulletin Board Discussion. This process allowed participants to respond to additional questions. After responding they were allowed to see how others respond to the same questions. Then participants were able to have a discussion about the answer by posting comments.
One of the big highlights was they noted the need to define what we intend the road to be or look like (i.e. a 4-Lane road to move traffic quickly or a 2 lane road with sidewalks to provide connections to the community) before we can really move forward with a project. This engagement has also helped identify some key issues, groups, and gaps that need to be filled.
This engagement process is one of the changes to engagement being made due to the impact on public gatherings by the Covid-19 virus. The project team is in the process of updating their Public Involvement Plan to adapt to engagement during the current pandemic.
Spot Paving on Case and Ferndale
This week Public Works crews have been performing spot paving on Case Avenue and Ferndale Street (between Stillwater and Harvester). This work is done on areas where regular patching is no longer effective and they are still a number of years out from a CIP project. As you can see it provides residents relief from the pavement conditions and reduce staff time having to revisit the same are multiple times each year. The crews really like these type of projects as they make a big difference for the residents.
These are the reports for this week. City Manager Coleman returns next week. Stay tuned for more information. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Thank you.